Valentino Rossi's crew chief Jeremy Burgess says he is leaning toward staying at Yamaha whatever the MotoGP champion decides to do in 2011, with Rossi now expected to be announced as a Ducati rider within the next month.
Burgess followed Rossi from Honda to Yamaha when he made the other major team switch of his career, and there had been speculation that Ducati wanted the highly respected engineer to come as part of the package with Rossi. But Burgess said his preference was to remain at Yamaha, regardless of Rossi's decision.
"I've worked so much in this team and I'm happy to stay here," Burgess told Gazzetta dello Sport. "To win more races with Yamaha is what I would like to carry on doing for the years to come.
"I've always said that the moment Valentino decides to retire, that could be the right opportunity for me to quit. Should he choose something else, there's no guarantee I will go with him."
When asked if the prospect of ending his long relationship with Rossi would be "difficult," Burgess replied: "I imagine it is. But Valentino has always said he would like to end his career here in Yamaha..."
Burgess is confident that Rossi would enjoy plenty of success without him were they to separate.
"There are so many people in a team that a single one is not important," he said. "A team like ours can't be built in just one year, we've done an excellent job all together. There are many important people here. Should Valentino decide to leave in order to start a new career, it wouldn't be so important to lose one person.
"I've worked with my team for so many years, since Mick Doohan's times at Honda. If I was to die tomorrow, they would carry on working as usual. I'm just an old totem, or something like that."